Dempsey goal gives U.S. win over Italy

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports -

GENOA, ITALY | The United States stunned Italy 1- 0 on Wed­nes­day as Clint Dempsey’s sec­ond-half goal gave the Amer­i­cans their first vic­tory over the Az­zurri in 11 meet­ings.

Dempsey be­came only the fourth Amer­i­can to score against Italy when he fired past Gian­luigi Buf­fon in the 55th minute, and the U.S. clung on for a mem­o­rable win in the friendly.

It is Jur­gen Klins­mann’s fifth vic­tory in 10 games as U.S. coach and will also serve as per­sonal re­venge for the for­mer Ger­many great af­ter los­ing the 2006 World Cup semi­fi­nal to even­tual cham­pion Italy when in charge of the Ger­man na­tional team.

“It’s his­toric for us beat­ing a team of Italy’s level and it’s a very good win,” Klins­mann said. “But what we wanted to do above ev­ery­thing was to learn, to see how we could do against a team like Italy. I think the boys did very, very well, they played great for 90 min­utes. And more­over we have young play­ers and they’re grow­ing and it’s from games like this that they do.”

Italy al­most snatched a draw in stop­page time when Ric­cardo Mon­to­livo’s ef­fort flashed past the right up­right. It is the Az­zurri’s first de­feat in Genoa since 1924, and came de­spite the hosts cre­at­ing a ma­jor­ity of the chances.

“With this spirit we’ll have a great Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship. I’m ab­so­lutely not wor­ried,” Italy coach Ce­sare Pran­delli said. “I have a lot to think about ahead of the Eu­ros and I’ll take the best things from this game — the will to win, the de­ter­mi­na­tion, the fight to get back. . . . So it’s not a ‘lost’ friendly match. There’s a lot to take from this. I’m sure I’ll have the team ready by the sum­mer.”

The at­mos­phere in the Sta­dio Luigi Fer­raris was very dif­fer­ent from the last time the arena hosted a match, when Italy was awarded a 3-0 win over Ser­bia in Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fy­ing af­ter the game was called off in the sev­enth minute fol­low­ing crowd trou­ble from the vis­it­ing fans.

There was no sign of such trou­ble Wed­nes­day, and a siz­able Amer­i­can con­tin­gent added to the lively at­mos­phere.

Klins­mann had hoped to be able to pair Dempsey with Lan­don Dono­van for the first time since tak­ing over as coach last year, but the Los An­ge­les Gal­axy mid­fielder-for­ward pulled out of the squad Sun­day with bron­chi­tis.

Italy al­most got off to the per­fect start when An­to­nio No­cerino launched a long ball to­ward Alessan­dro Ma­tri, but goal­keeper Tim Howard rushed out and cleared the dan­ger along with right back Steve Cherun­dolo.

Italy also went close sec­onds be­fore half­time. No­cerino’s cross in was cleared by the U.S. de­fense but straight to Thi­ago Motta, who lashed in a fierce ef­fort which Howard did well to stop.

The U.S. stunned Italy 10 min­utes af­ter the break when Jozy Alti­dore laid off Michael Bradley’s cross to Dempsey and the Ful­ham mid­fielder lashed in a fierce shot that flew past Buf­fon’s out­stretched hand and into the bot­tom left corner. It was Dempsey’s 25th goal in 83 ap­pear­ances.

“Ini­tially, I was go­ing to stay where I was and have him lay it back to me,” Dempsey said. “I saw the guy was cov­er­ing. So I tried to move to my right to try get open so he could play me the ball. He did a great job of hold­ing it up, play­ing me, and I just tried to hit it low and hard, far post, and it went in.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

U.S. mid­fielder Clint Dempsey (right) cel­e­brates his 55th-minute goal in the Amer­i­cans’ 1-0 win at Italy on Wed­nes­day. It was the United States’ fourth­straight win and first vic­tory over the Az­zurri in 11 meet­ings.

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